Sumitra Mahajan throws open debate on ‘One nation, One election’

Sumitra Mahajan, The Lok Sabha speaker threw open the debate on ‘one nation-one election’ theory by favouring the concept on Saturday, while speaking at the conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Region-IV in Shimla.

Mahajan said that, “India had earlier followed the system of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabhas and the Vidhan Sabhas. We need to ponder over the issue. In the midst of elections one after another in the country, the election code of conduct normally hampers the development process and schemes get stuck.”

“The idea of ‘one nation, one election’ would undoubtedly save money and time, but the Constitutional hurdles in its way need to be addressed first,” she said. The issue calls for an inclusive discussion where not only national aspirations,  also the regional needs should be addressed.

The idea was supported by speakers of Haryana and Gujarat while Congress participants from Haryana, Himachal and PDP MLAs from Jammu and Kashmir expressed reservations.

“As far as holding of simultaneous elections is concerned, we agree to disagree as there are far too many practical problems and it should be done only with the consensus of all,” said Dr Nirmal, Assembly Speaker of Jammu & Kashmir.

Citing constitutional provision that the term of an Assembly could neither be increased nor decreased, Mukesh Agnihotri Himachal Pradesh Congress leader opposed the idea.

In a draft report, the Law Commission has recommended “holding of simultaneous polls” but underlined “the Commission is aware of the fact that holding simultaneous elections is not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution”. It has therefore been suggested “certain inevitable Constitutional amendments”.

The draft report also stated that, simultaneous elections will save public money, help reduce the burden on the administrative set-up as well as the security forces and ensure better implementation of government policies.

Abha Boyal

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